Does Surgery Scare You A Bit?

Chronic joint pain due to injury or osteoarthritis is a growing concern. Every year millions of people visit doctors for pain relief. For some, non-surgical treatment options can fail, and the doctor will recommend surgery. The idea of surgery could be stressful and scary. By understanding what happens during surgery and asking the right questions, future joint replacement patients will feel more at ease.

city place surgery 4 Questions To Ask Your Orthopedic Surgeon Before Getting A Joint Replacement

Out with the old, in with the new

The goal of a joint replacement is to replace damaged cartilage and bone with prosthetic parts. Hip and knee replacements are the most common joint surgeries. Shoulder, ankle, and elbow replacements are less frequent but possible. The surgeon will use either open surgery or minimally invasive means to replace the joint. The damaged cartilage and bone are shaved off, followed by installing the prosthesis. Joint replacement is just the start. From there, physical therapy helps with pain management and movement. Here are 4 common questions that every patient should ask.

1. What happens if I choose not to get joint surgery?

Research shows that having surgery too early has minimal benefits. However, delaying surgery deprives patients of the full benefits of the procedure. The patient will have to manage the pain continually. In the long-term, delaying joint replacement can impact other parts of a patient’s health and life. The joint pain can limit movement, creating a sedentary lifestyle. A lack of activity can lead to obesity, diabetes, or other chronic conditions. There could even be social issues and depression.

2. What are the risks?

Of course, with any procedure, there will be risks. This is one of the most important questions to ask the orthopedic surgeon. Complications commonly involve wound infections and blood clotting. More serious complications include a malfunctioning joint, nerve damage, fractures, and tissue damage. For older patients, some of these complications could be life-threatening. Despite the possibility of these complications, most joint replacement procedures are very safe.

3. How long will my joint replacement last?

Doctors use high-quality, durable prosthetics for all joint replacements. If the procedure is successful, surgeons expect the joint to last from 10-15 years. However, the quality of materials and surgery has improved the shelf life of prosthetics. A study showed that 58% of hip replacements last 25 years. There are a couple of reasons why the joint would not last. First, if there is a surgical complication, the joint may need to be replaced. Furthermore, if the surgery happens with a younger patient, a replacement may be necessary in the future.

4. Can I improve the success rate of my surgery?

The success of surgery depends on the patient’s ability to heal and respond to physical therapy. To ensure surgery success, start by adopting healthy lifestyle changes in the weeks leading up to surgery. Make sure to quit smoking to improve healing and decrease complications. Losing some weight can also help with recovery. Weight loss can be difficult with a damaged joint, so focus on a healthy diet and low-impact exercise. Finally, get a second opinion and choose the right facility with a high success rate.

The more you know

Deciding on a surgical procedure is a big decision. Replacing the joint significantly reduces pain, improves mobility, and improves the quality of life. However, there are a lot of moving parts and possible risks. These 4 questions can help but don’t stop there. Ask as many questions as possible to feel comfortable about the decision. The right orthopedic surgeon and team will be patient and answer everything for some extra reassurance.

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